Saturday, 21 July 2018
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Rohingya refugee boat restocks after storm in southern Thailand

Nabin Talukder: A watercraft with Rohingya refugees restocked with basic supplies at an island in southern Thailand on Sunday, authorities stated, in the midst of signs that congestion in Bangladeshi camps could prompt numerous others to make similarly perilous sea crossings. Exactly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed the border from Myanmar’s Rakhine State into Bangladesh after militant attacks in August sparked a military crackdown that United Nations and Western countries have said constitutes ethnic cleansing. The boat, carrying 56 refugees, stopped on Lanta Island in southern Krabi region after a heavy storm on Saturday evening. The initial Rohingya vessel spotted off Thailand in over a year, quoted by local police. “We treated them with humanitarian consideration and allowed them to return to sea because they told us they were heading to Malaysia,” Lanta police chief, Police Colonel M.L. Pattanajak Chakrabandhu told Reuters. Locals gave the refugees food and water, he said. A huge number of Rohingya fled by ocean following an outbreak of sectarian violence in Rakhine State in 2012, some falling prey to human traffickers. An expected 25,000 individuals fled over the Andaman Sea for Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia in 2015. Rights groups expect another surge in Rohingya boats reaching Southeast Asia, regardless of whether not at the levels of the past. “We have received credible information about boats full of Rohingya refugees making their way to Malaysia over the last few months,” Matthew Smith co-founder of advocacy group Fortify Rights told Reuters. “The humanitarian situation in Bangladesh for the refugees is very difficult.”

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